Acquisitions round-up: Summer 2016

Find out which works of art we have helped museums and galleries to acquire through our grants programme over the last quarter, thanks to the help of National Art Pass members and Art Fund donors.


1. Roni Horn, Pink Tons, 2009

Tate Modern, London

A cast-glass cuboid sculpture weighing in at five tonnes by the 60-year old American artist that transcends both the masculine and the feminine; both transparent and opaque.

2. Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Oil study for The Virgin and Child in Glory, 1673

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Murillo is believed to have painted this small 17th-century oil sketch in preparation for his synonymous altarpiece. Samuel Jones Loyd, a British banker, acquired the piece in 1838 and it remained in his family's possession until 1953, when it was acquired by the Walker Art Gallery.

3. Charles Clay; Peter Dutens, Ormolu mantel clock for Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1736

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

According to the preserved bill, Dutens, a society jeweller, sold the clock to Frederick for £61 and two shillings. The rococo case displays an eagle defeating a dragon, and the dial is framed by shells, flowers and scrolls.

4. William Crozier, Bourlon Wood, 1962

Imperial War Museum, London

The name of Crozier's oil painting originates from a heavily contested area in Northern France during the First World War. Skeletons in Crozier's work signify both his pacifism and his unease with the sombre reality of 20th-century warfare.

5. Oscar Gustav Rejlander, Oscar Rejlander photographic works, c. 1862

National Portrait Gallery, London

This recently discovered photo album contains 70 rare prints by the Swedish-born artist. The album's subjects include Rejlander himself, his wife Mary Bull, and Lord Alfred Tennyson’s son Hallam.

6. Clare Winsten, Portrait of Joseph Leftwich, c. 1920

Ben Uri Gallery, London

This Modernist portrait displays Joseph Leftwich, the Jewish critic who coined the term ‘Whitechapel Boys’, describing a group of Jewish socialist writers and artists based in east London. Winsten, née Clara Birnberg, was the group's only 'Whitechapel Girl'.

7. Cornelia Parker, Jerusalem; Oil Stain (Bethlehem) and Spilt Milk (Jerusalem); War, Peace, 2015; 2012-13; 2015

The Whitworth, Manchester

For Jerusalem, Parker poured latex in the cracks of an east Jerusalem pavement and then cast it in bronze, representing the contested territory both literally and metaphorically.

In the diptych Oil Stain (Bethlehem) and Spilt Milk (Jerusalem), the two everyday occurrences take symbolic meaning, like the biblical ‘land of milk and honey’.

For War, Peace, Parker worked with British inmates. The two words' definitions are embroidered on either side of a piece of linen, so while one is being read the opposing one can be read in reverse on alternate lines.

8. Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of Arthur Atherley, 1791

Holburne Museum, Bath

Lawrence, a child prodigy, was just 22 years old when he painted the portrait. Atherley was the son of a banker who would eventually become an MP for Southampton.

9. Gertrude Jekyll, Album of 59 studies of flowers, gardens and rural views, c. 1885-1886

Garden Museum, London

This rare album, which was sold as part of the Jekyll estate auction in 1948, now joins her desk as the only volume of photographs by the most influential garden designer in a public setting.

10. Stanley Anderson, Selection of prints from the ‘English Country Crafts’ series, 1938-1948

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

In this series, Anderson wanted to record manual tasks and other aspects of rural life that he believed to be disappearing, like thatching, tree felling and rake- and basket-making.

11. Hubert Von Herkomer, In the Black Country, 1891

Bushey Museum and Art Gallery, Hertfordshire

In this painting Von Herkomer, a social realist, shows a night-time scene with a group of three workers, in front of a mill and glowing furnaces in the West Midlands.

12. William Burges, Tulip vase, 1874

National Museum, Cardiff

Architect William Burges designed this vase, one of four, as part of the Summer Smoking Room at Cardiff Castle, his Gothic Revival house masterpiece. The vase has four tulip holders around its neck and is painted with parakeets and blue foliage.

13. John Piper, The Devil’s Bridge Waterfall, Aberystwyth, Wales, 1944

Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery, Wales

John Piper visited the area, which was recently identified as the limestone formation of Bwa Maen, in 1942. It is located in the Vale of Neath in south Wales, and it has a long history of artists who travelled there in the 18th and 19th centuries.

14. John Sell Cotman, Greta Woods, 1805

Leeds Art Gallery

Cotman created this painting during a short visit to north Yorkshire, and it is part of a series focusing on the banks of the River Greta. It depicts a study of a bridge spanning a ravine, set against a clear sky.

15. Graham Sutherland, Collection of nine drawings, 1940-41

Museum of London

This series shows ruined buildings and detritus in the City and East End of London during the Second World War. Sutherland was appointed an official war artist in 1941, and covered the destruction of commercial buildings in the City as well as the London docks.

16. Frank Hampson, Artwork for the Eagle comic and other graphics, 1947-1968

The Atkinson, Southport

This collection shows early artwork for the Eagle, which contained the first appearance of iconic comic strip Dan Dare. From 1964, Hampson was also an illustrator for Ladybird children’s books.

17. Unknown artist, Gold tremissis, AD 655-675

Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

This rare gold coin was struck in Merovingian-era France. Coins during that period were used ceremonially, usually as an royal or ecclesiastical gift. This tremissis shows a king modelling himself on a Roman emperor, complete with a Christian cross.

18. Lotte Laserstein, Frau im Café: Lotte Fischler, 1939

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester

Laserstein was one of the first women to study at the Berlin Academy. She fled the Nazis in 1937 and emigrated to Sweden. This portrait of Josef Fischler's wife was to thank him for helping her secure several commissions.

19. Eric Ravilious, Two Cows, 1935

Fry Art Gallery, Essex

Ravilious studied painting in Eastbourne and the Royal College of Art before moving to Essex, where this watercolour was painted. He and his wife shared a house with fellow artist Edward Bawden and his family.

20. Unknown maker, The Ashby St Mary Hoard, 44 gold coins, c. 17 BC

Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

These coins were minted by the Iceni tribe of East Anglia following the Roman invasion. They are known as ‘Norfolk Wolf’ staters (coins) due to featuring a wolf with its jaws open.

21. Nicholas-François Regnault, La Fontaine d’amour, 1785

The Wallace Collection, London

Regnault was known as one of the best 18th-century ​French engravers and executed this print after a painting with the same name by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

22. Johan Gotlieff Bilsinds, two ‘Communion Cups of the Kirk of Drymen’, 1732

Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

These rare cups were ordered after ‘Presbytery investigations’ complained that the church lacked communion-ware. The Glasgow-based Bilsinds is thought to have immigrated from Germany.

23. Unknown maker, Medieval Seal matrix, c. 1300

​Fife Cultural Trust

This is the only seal matrix in existence that belongs to the bishop of St Andrews, William de Lamberton. It features a saltire with a scallop shell, defining St Andrews as a site of pilgrimage.

24. John Varley, Brecon on the River Usk, South Wales, c. 1800

Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, Wales

This painting of Peterborough Cathedral is Varley's first watercolour, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy when he was just 20 years old.

25. Kurt Schwitters, Untitled (Silver Howe, Grasmere), 1945

Armitt Museum and Library, Cumbria

This early Schwitters painting depicts Silver Howe, a house that classical archaeologist William Gell built c1798.

26. Kurt Schwitters, (Untitled) Old Ambleside; (Untitled) View From Blue Hill; (Untitled) Fairfield; (Untitled) The View From Peggy Hill, 1945-47

Armitt Museum and Library, Cumbria

These works depict Schwitters’ later, more naturalistic and impressionistic focus, which is often under-represented.

27. Various makers, Collection of jewellery, various dates

National Museums Scotland

These acquisitions were made through the New Collecting Awards, a programme that lets up-and-coming curators to pursue new collection paths. They include a series of modern Swedish and Danish jewellery, and a gold necklace and bracelet by Charles de Temple.

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